Wednesday, October 16, 2002

The weekend went well and we managed to do everything that I hoped that we would. Unfortunately, I seemed to have paid the penalty for too many late nights, I managed to go to work on Monday and indeed play football that evening. After that my body just said NO! Woke up on Tuesday, with a throat that felt like I had been swallowing coarse grade sandpaper all night! I’ve stayed home from work for the past couple of days and am feeling better for it.
I’ve used the time to watch a couple of old Spike Lee films. Firstly on Monday I watched Mo’Better Blues. I have played the soundtrack album to this film pretty regularly over the years but it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film I’d forgotten about the way the film bookends itself with the childhood sequences. Great music, good film. Today I finally made my way downstairs at about 11:30 and after a quick bite to eat, I settled down to watch Do The Right Thing. This is still an amazingly powerful film about the way different races get along, or don’t as the case may be. As always with Spike Lee a great soundtrack does not just add to the story, it’s an integral part of the tale. No easy answers at the end of the film and indeed the conflicting quotes from Martin Luther King and Malcolm X give us few clues to the way forward. I think that in many ways. That is the strength of the film. Nobody in the film is right all the time; foolish words and deeds quickly contradict the good things they seem to say or do. Some people just try to get along, which is we can do. Great music, Great film

On Tuesday evening we watched Clockwork Orange thanks to it’s first ever TV showing this weekend. It’s really difficult to view a film like this with an open mind, after so much hype and comment over the years when it has been unavailable in the UK. We both agreed that after the first 30 mins we could have quite easily have turned off as the catalogue of appalling violence, looked to be heading into cul-de-sac. Once our narrator is caught, things started to become much more interesting and it was amazing to see the connections with present day debates on law and order, and the treatment of offenders. Also it was a brilliant portrayal of the sort of political opportunism, which we though was a new invention. A thought provoking and original film, even after this length of time, still very relevant.

I’ve been reading Toby Young’s, How to lose friends & alienate people. A splendidly acerbic account of his period working in New York and the amazing lack of success, in his working and personal life. On the few occasions that I have seen or heard Toby Young On TV or radio, he has always come across as epitome of the English upper class prat. To his credit, he makes no effort to cover up the worse traits in his character and you can see why people failed to warm to him. However from the way he tells it, he makes a pretty convincing case about the lack of humility or human caring that these very high flying people have in their lives. It may well be the same in London but this book should leave a few people squirming. Then again it’s quite interesting to read the reviews of the book on Toy’s website. Virtually all the American reviews, seem to accept that, this is the way life is, and question why Toby Young would bother pointing out the incredible self importance and lack of comradeship in his short lived contemporary’s. Whilst the rest of world finds all very amusing. The other thing that really comes across in the book, is that people only want to know you, if you are of some use to them. A friend of mine, who is pretty successful in his field, has said to me how much he hates New York, although its somewhere that he has to go fairly regularly, he always does it for the shortest amount of time that he can. Now as someone who loves going to New York on holidays I have always found this strange, but reading this book confirms the impression that my friend has given me. Everyone wants a slice of you or is your best friend when you have something they want, if you don’t have what they want – move over!

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